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Advertisers deserting Bill O'Reilly; Representative Elijah Cummings had some strong words for Steve Bannon and the Trump administration; Kendell Jenner unveiled her new ad for Pepsi; Aired 11p-12mn ET

Aired April 4, 2017 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:25] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: All the President's men.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

The White House in turmoil, war with the press and the truth. A congressman saying some people may end up in jail. Is President Trump taking a page from President Nixon's book?

Plus, advertisers deserting Bill O'Reilly. Twenty companies so gar pulling their commercials from the O'Reilly factor. That's in a wake of the "New York Times" report that five women who accuse the FOX News superstar of sexual harassment and verbal abuse received settlements totaling $13 million. That's one pricey O'Reilly factor.

Let's get right Mark McKinnon. He is the co-creator of show time "the Circus" and John Farrell, author of "Richard Nixon the life."

Gentlemen, it is so good to have you on.

Mark, we are 75 days in. We have this Russia cloud over the White House. It seems to be getting thicker every day. Tonight, Representative Joaquin Castro from the House committee said that -- watch this. This is what he said to Wolf Blitzer about the Russia investigation.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, SITUATION ROOM: Have you seen any hard evidence of collusion yet?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, I guess I would say this. That my impression is I wouldn't be surprised that after all this is said and done that some people end up in jail.

BLITZER: Really? And how high does that go if your suspicion or that's all we can call it right now?

CASTRO: Well, that's yet to be determined.

BLITZER: But you think some people are going to winds up in jail, not just one individual, but people plural, is that what you are saying? CASTRO: That's my impression, yes.


LEMON: Right. So he said he wouldn't be surprised if people ends up in jail. So we also know, Mark, two more Trump's associates had meetings with Russian, one with the Putin tie, another with the Russian's spy. The FBI's criminal investigation of collusion, possible collusion to congressional investigation is underway. I mean, have you ever seen a more interesting shall we say start to an administration?

MARK MCKINNON, CO-CREATOR, SHOWTIME, THE CIRCUS: As a circus, that's for sure. I mean, that's why we bought the show back.

No, it is, you know, usually you don't have this kind of thing ever in the administration much less in the first 100 days which is may hit a huge distraction on so many pros just when, you know, the Trump administration is trying to get their footing. So, you know, the problem is that you have most of your capital and you can do most of it as a President in the first 100 days. And when you have these other distractions and hearings going on, it's really hard to get through those major priorities you set out in the campaign.

LEMON: And John, the President call the Russia investigation fake news, which it isn't. And you have a new biography out of Richard Nixon. And a lot of people are drawing parallels between Trump and Nixon. Is that fair? Do you see it?

JOHN FARRELL, AUTHOR, RICHARD NIXON, THE LIFE: I think there is a lot of coincidence the penetration of the DNC, allegations of eaves dropping and wiretapping that leaves everybody sort of to make that quick comparison. I'm not so sure that the case has been made yet. There is still an awful lot that we don't know. The one thing I will say is that the Trump aides are acting like the Nixon aides acted which is they are not making a clean breast of this getting it off the table quickly. They are dodging, making diversions. That's unfortunate, because I think that could lead them down this same path that Nixon is in.

LEMON: All right. As you are watching this, Mark, you are watching all this play out, do you agree with what John said? Because you are behind the scenes and you are getting a perspective of this I don't think most people get?

MCKINNON: Well, it's kind of an insult to the Nixon administration to compare. They knew what they were doing, you know, in the case of the Trump administration.

Listen, they came in as disruptors. They came in with a very shallow bench. I worked with an administration that, you know, it was a Bush. They had been if power. They been around power for generations. So they had deep, deep benches of people put into positions.

LEMON: Are you saying they are inept? MCKINNON: I'm saying what Trump campaigned on, he was going to

disrupt and do things differently. He is doing things differently. He is not doing it in a traditional way that any other President has ever done it. And there are consequences for that. And part of the consequences are that you have a, you know, a group of people who haven't dealt with a corridors in power before.

I think a lot of these are probably low crimes and misdemeanors of people having meetings that aren't aware they were supposed to have meetings. We will find out later in Congressman Castro's. That's a pretty serious allegation. And we will see how it plays out.

The problem is, at the bottom line at a time when you should be using most of your capital, you are being diverted by, you know, multiple investigations going on. I mean, I spend my time all over the hill today and they are all hearing about Russia.

[23:05:01] LEMON: Yes. I think that you may, you know, I have spoken similarly to what you have said before, maybe they just don't know. Maybe it's just ignorance, maybe they don't know they were meeting with people. Maybe the game that they had been in before was about making money, who knows? And so they don't really know how all this conflicts of interest how they work and who they should be talking to.

But John, (INAUDIBLE) from 'the Washington Post" is reporting this. He said the seeds of chaos can be found in the transition, which he says went off the rails almost immediately. Do you see evidence the White House is learning from their early misstep?

FARRELL: No, not at all. And you know, listening Mark talk, you know, you could never imagine James Baker letting this go on the way it's been doing. You could never imagine Andy Card let this go on the way it has been doing or Dick Cheney let W. had something eat away at a presidency like this.

It's really unprecedented. And I think that my Republican friends out in the country are scratching their heads because this is not at all what they expected. They expected a Republican Presidency and a Republican Congress.

I still think because he has the Republican Congress that if he was somehow to get a grip on his impulses and bring in some pro or some professionals, that he still could have a successful presidency. But every day that goes by, it just adds to this feeling, this is, you know, this is the Marx brothers for duck soup (INAUDIBLE).

LEMON: OK. So let's talk about course correction here, alright, Mark. Because Dan Ball (ph) is also reports that Trump's inner circle was given 30 binders of material, detailed road map to guide the team through the transition successfully. But they chose not to follow it. I mean, how does that compare to, you know, the past Presidents? If they went back and got that handbooks, could they do some course corrections instead of buying by that?

MCKINNON: Well, Donald Trump has shown no signs ever of following anybody's rulebook but his own. Now, I will say that part of what Trump does successfully surprise people especially when nay have low expectations. You had some conversations and I know about the health care bill. I'm getting some pretty strong signals just tonight that this thing may get back on track. And that would be a huge surprise pulling that back out now.

LEMON: Do you think they can do it by -- because they leave on Friday.

MCKINNON: Well, I don't know about Friday, Don. But I'm just saying that everybody had buried this thing for good. And you know, at least for the next year or two. And I think there is a good sign and there are some pretty productive meetings going on right now against key players. So, you know, that would be classic Donald Trump, to just, you know, pull that back in and get a W on the board sometime in the near future. And he may have a very successful meeting with the Chinese leader.

So this week is the stage for him to be a foreign policy President. And we have been dealing mostly with domestic issues. We will see on the international stage.

LEMON: If he get it back on board, meaning health care, is it repeal in place or is it just fixing Obamacare?

MCKINNON: I think it could be a version of repeal and replace. I mean, I think it's ultimately could be a sort of thing where it gets sent down in the states where it becomes kind of a federalist approach.


Let's talk about a different subject here, sort of, John. I want to play a clip of the interview with - this is Ivanka Trump. It is Gayle King from CBS. Watch this.


GAYLE KING, CBS ANCHOR: Did you hear the phrase complicit that Jared and Ivanka are complicit on what is happening to the White House? Can you just weigh in on how you feel about that? There have been articles, there had been parodies. What do you think about that accusation?

IVANKA TRUMP, ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT: If being complicit is wanting to -- is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I'm complicit. I don't know that the critics who may say that of me if they found themselves in this very unique and unprecedented situation that I am now in would do any differently.


LEMON: Ivanka's role in the White House is somewhat mysterious. Is the President well served by surrounding him with family, loyalists with no government?

FARRELL: I don't think that there is anything inherently wrong about that? John Kennedy had Bobby Kennedy as an ad advisor. And certainly, if she brings good ideas and moderation to the President, it's great. It's a win-win for everybody.

The problem is it seems she is one voice in many in a choir that's not singing off the same sheet of music and you have a President dashing off to Florida to play golf and not doing the tough stuff that he promised he was going to do to solve the issues that are facing working America.

LEMON: Mark McKinnon, co-creative executive producer of "the Circus" inside the greatest political show on earth. The first episode of season two is Sunday, right, on Showtime? Is that the first episode, am I right, or the second?

MCKINNON: It is actually going to be the fourth this Sunday.

LEMON: Well, I was wrong on both of them. So I'm glad you corrected me. So I want to play a clip. And then we can talk about it.


[23:10:08] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a few President. You all know who the new President is. Right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so a lot of people in the country are talking about that. One word to describe President Trump. One word.




















LEMON: You know they say from the mouth of babes. They are 5th graders. I mean, what did you take away from that?

MCKINNON: They were amazing. We took last week, part of what we wanted to do is get outside of Washington, hold a mirror up to America and get a sense of how the country is responding. It was fascinating. We went to New Hampshire, to Florida, to Wisconsin, to New Orleans.

And the net take away is a couple things. One, people are paying attention like they have never paid attention before. I mean, you have 5th graders talking about executive orders. And we have like this national civics lesson going on. That will be one of the real legacy in Donald Trump because you got everybody in America to pay attention what is going on and learn about their government.

The other thing is that America is not nearly as hysterical about what is happening in Washington as the media is and everybody else in D.C. They are -- even Trump's strongest opponents are saying, you know, listen. You know, it's only 60 days in, you know. We have seen tougher times and greater challenges and we survived those. So, there is a sense of America, where there is high levels of concern. But there is also a sense that, you know, we have guard rails on our democracy. We have gotten through tough times. We will get through this those for Donald Trump are excited about what he is doing and shows no sign of their support waning at all.

LEMON: Not a mistake, let's hope.


LEMON: Thank you, gentleman. I appreciated.

When we come back, company after company pulling commercials from Bill O'Reilly's show. The stunning allegations played in the FOX News host.


[23:15:47] LEMON: Tonight, we have all the source against Bill O'Reilly, at least 21 companies pulling ads from his FOX News show after report that five women who accused of sexual harassment or verbal abuse received settlements totaling $13 million.

I spoke to Wendy Walsh, a former factory (ph) regular who says O'Reilly broke her promise to get her a job at FOX after she rejected her advances. Here is her message to him.


WENDY WALSH, CNN HUMAN BEHAVIOR EXPERT: I just want a non-toxic work environment for my daughters and their generation. We need to change the system. The work place is not a mating marketplace. And if you are looking for a date, do like everyone else and go on tender.


LEMON: So let's discuss now. Benedict Morrelli, attorney for Andrea Mackris, former plaintiff against Bill O'Reilly and FOX News Alan Dershowitz, a defense attorney and author of "Taking the stand, my life and the law." CNN Dylan Byers Lisa Bloom, an attorney for O'Reilly accuser Wendy Walsh.

It's good to have all of you on.

So let's talk about the particulars here, the story, Dylan, I'm going to start with you. There is at least 21 advertisers have pulled their ad from "the O'Reilly Factor." So what's going on here?

DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR REPORTER FOR MEDIA AND POLITICS: Well, look, I mean, it's moving, extremely fast, 24 hours ago, one advertiser had pulled their advertisements from the "O'Reilly Factor." As we were going into the commercial break before this discussion, it was 20. Now like you said, it's 21.

I want to read you the statement that FOX News put out if regard to the matters. I'm going to read in full.

It says we value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about "the O'Reilly factor." At this time the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FOX News channel programs.

Now, what that means is that the advertisers are pulling out of the O'Reilly factor, but they are sticking with FOX News. They are sticking with 21st century FOX. So this sort of financial dents that is being made by this boycott is not quite as extreme as it would be if they pulled out in the network en masse.

That said, you can see that there is mounting public pressure on FOX News, on Bill O'Reilly. You have to anticipate that at the very least, they are going to have to issue -- Bill O'Reilly is going to have to issue an extraordinarily full-throated explanation and apology for what happens here.

LEMON: Interesting. And I think you think, Alan, this is sort of where the rubber meets the road because, you know, he calls it the no spin zone. "The Huffington Post" is calling him the no sponsor zone. You say pulling the ads is more powerful than going to court. Why is that?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, It's the democracy at work. It is the market in operation. And if you live by the ratings and the advertising revenue, you die by the ratings and the advertising revenue.

This is a real check and balance on somebody who is supposed to be a check and balance on government. In the end, he is going to have to have a full investigation. FOX has no choice. They are going to have to hire Louis Freed, former director of the FBI or somebody like that, the way they did in the Penn State case and have a complete, independent and full investigation. Let the chips fall where they may.

If he and any woman that makes a complaint deserves a full investigation. Any man who is complained against deserves a full investigation. And I think both sides would benefit from a full investigation.

LEMON: Benedict, I will ask you this because you represent (INAUDIBLE), a former producer who accused Bill O'Reilly of sexual assault. This is back in 2004, of harassment - excuse sexual harassment. Pardon me for that error. In 2004, O'Reilly settled the case. And according to "the "New York Times" O'Reilly and FOX have settled with three other women since then.

I spoke to a woman last night who accuses O'Reilly of inappropriate behavior. That was in 2013. Are you surprised that your lawsuit didn't change the absence of Bill O'Reilly or FOX?

BENEDICT MORELLI, ATTORNEY FOR ANDREA MACKRIS, FORMER PLAINTIFF AGAINST BILL O'REILLY AND FOX NEWS: Not at all. As a matter of fact, many big companies have window dressing. They set up what they call a hot line and they say, you know, if you call in the hot line, can you go to HR, it's going to be taken care of, and it will be anonymous and there will be no retribution. And you won't be retaliated against, and that's most of the time not true.

LEMON: So you are not surprised?

MORELLI: I'm not surprised at all. And I'm also not surprised that more women have come forward because when someone operates the way he is operating in the past with reference to my client, they always continue. Always.

[23:20:18] LEMON: Here's what's -- I'm surprised. Because I think the culture is changed when you, or is changing. We are in the middle of, you know, a change in the Zeit (ph) guides here because - and I think that this time it might make a difference. Do you think I'm wrong with that?

LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY FOR WENDY WALSH: I think the culture is changing in certain ways, Don. Mercedes Benz not only was the first advertiser to pull out of Bill O'Reilly's show. Thank you, Mercedes Benz. But they did it with a statement because they support women's equality. (INAUDIBLE) also gave a statement about supporting women's equality. I encourage every advertiser as you go on your way out, before you turn off the light, please make a supportive statement against sexual harassment in favor of women's equality.

Because on the one hand, corporate America does reflect those values, in many cases. On the other hand, we have the President who is the groper in chief. We have Bill O'Reilly who would never have a job at any other company in America except FOX News with this number of allegations with $13 million in payments with women after woman coming forward. But FOX News covers for him. And you also have to ask the advertiser, why do you stay at a company that covers for somebody like this? Why not pull out entirely?

LEMON: Yes, speaking of culture, this is from the national organization of women. They are now calling for FOX to fire O'Reilly saying in part quote "the reported use of his powerful position to repeatedly manipulate women reveals a cruel misogyny that runs to the core of his character. Women have the right to go to work without facing harassment, FOX News apparently doesn't get that basic concept.

So what kind of message do you think this sends to employers if, you know, hearing this from the national organization of women and the fact that he has had these allegations before him, Lisa, and he is still there?

BLOOM: It's absolutely appalling. I support that in the press conference yesterday. I called for an independent investigation. Let's be very clear, there has not been one yet. They hired their own attorneys to protect and represent them, Paul White (ph). They did not do an independent investigation. They did the investigation employers do to protect themselves.

I called for the state division of human rights in New York. That's that state agency that's supposed to protect the right of women, people of color and other disenfranchised groups. I coded the code section which empowers them on their own motion to do an investigation. It's rarely used, but it's legally very sound. And this was a perfect time for them to do that. We had over 30 women, according to published reports who have brought sexual harassment complaints against FOX News either informally or formally. Please state division of human rights, it is time for you to use your power. Get in there. Do your investigation, make findings and clean house.

LEMON: Alan.

DERSHOWITZ: But you are saying inconsistent things. I agree, there should be a complete and thorough investigation but you are pre- judging the investigation. You are saying they should fire him before there is an investigation. Let's hear the recording. Every woman who makes a complaint is entitled to have her complaint investigated. Every man who is complained against is entitled to have those complaints investigated.


DERSHOWITZ: We should all be in favor of a completely objective investigation and then if the investigation establishes that he is guilty, he should be fired. But if it doesn't.

BLOOM: Of course, I will say something that Benedict Morelli camps say. I will tell you something he can't say because he represented them in 2004. There are recordings. MORELLI: But you want to hear what happened at the time when I

represented Andrea Mackris. They hired Epstein, Becker and Green, came to my office, negotiated for two days, and the next day they said the case will be settled by 10:00 tomorrow morning. At 10:00 that morning, instead of settling the case, they sued me for what they called civil extortion, which does not exist in the law and it was unethical what they did. OK. Because what I'm saying is that they don't only attack the victim, the person who is charging them with sexual harassment, but they attack the attorneys, too.

BLOOM: Right.

MORELLI: Because they want to stop the attorney from bringing the lawsuit. Most attorneys who represent plaintiffs come from either small or medium size law firms. And these companies hire these big law firms to try to crush plaintiff attorneys.

A number of law firms around the country, civil rights law firms, called me, they wanted no represent me for free because they suede me. What they didn't anticipate was an hour-and-a-half they sued me in Nassau County, I sued them in Manhattan and I did a press conference with 60 journalists and reporters, I stole the narrative from them. But I didn't back down.

[23:25:12] LEMON: Yes, I heard you say. That speaks to the culture. Is that a corrupt couple or just how the law works?

MORELLI: It isn't how the law works. It is not ethically and we could speak to an expert right next to me.

LEMON: And we will.

MORELLI: That that is not an ethical.

LEMON: And we will. Dylan, we will hear from you. Everyone on the other side of the break.

We will be right back.


[23:29:23] LEMON: FOX News on the fire tonight. Advertisers leave Bill O'Reilly show in the wake of sexual harassment and allegations. This comes less than a year after the networks chairman Roger Ailes resigned over a sexual harassment scandal. But what does this say about the culture of FOX?

Back now with my panel.

You were talking about how expensive it is to do this and what they, you say, they tried to crush the little guy.

Dylan, you wanted to weigh in on this?

BYERS: Yes, I do. I just wanted two quick points. One here, is that in terms of this desire for an investigation, which obviously everyone on the panel seems eager to have, there is a federal investigation taking place right now into FOX News and how it handled payments to Roger Ailes no the women who had accused him of sexual harassment, whether or not it disclosed that adequately to its shareholders. Now, I understand that that is a different sort of investigation. I do believe that an investigation like that by the district court will unearth new material that might be relevant to this case.

Second thing I just wanted to point out, it goes back to what Benedict was talking about, about this hot line. You know, I talked to many sources inside of FOX News, sources close to FOX News. This notion that somehow the hot line was a place where women could go, where they can call and voice their frustrations or speak up about sexual harassment that they had experienced, no one I talked to, many of the women I talked to never even heard of that hotline. Many of them were scared to actually call that hot line because they feared that there would be retribution and they even fear that Roger Ailes when he was there might have been tapping their phones. The notion that the hotline was an outlet for them, I don't think that's something we should take.

[23:30:59] LEMON: Lisa said the same thing last night. Go ahead.

DERSHOWITZ: No, I think you are right. And by the way, I think FOX talking about the investigation probably has to announce or reserve that now to its shareholders that they may be liable for a significant amounts of money and publicly held operations have an obligation to disclose to their shareholders when they are vulnerable to these kind of potential lawsuits.

So I think they are hitting FOX where it matters in the pocket book, I think, hitting O'Reilly. But I still want to go back to the necessity for having an objective investigation to protect both of us. We don't want women's accusations simply to be believed. We don't want men's denials simply to be believed. This wrong in both of that. We need a thorough and complete investigation.

LEMON: Alan, I think most people agree with you. But when it starts to be four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, it's like with, you know, with Cosby thing. It is like --.

DERSHOWITZ: There is going to be a trial. There is going to be in trial and in the Cosby case, and we are going to get a result.

LEMON: Why with anybody -- Lisa, why would any women --.

MORELLI: Maybe we should talk about just that hot line?

LEMON: Yes, hold on.

MORELLI: But with reference to that hot line, if you listen to a Bill O'Reilly set in the last couple of days, he is trying to defend himself by saying no one ever complained to HR against him. And no ever called a hot line, OK.

This is ludicrous. All right. And it's not a defense. And he would be much better off seeing that we know that a lot of this is very, very true, to say nothing because what he is saying is not true.

LEMON: Lisa, go ahead.

BLOOM: Don, this is not my first case against FOX News, Wendy Walsh. And this not going to be my last. I have been slotted with calls this week. I am very happy to talk to women. I'm very familiar with this hotline. First of all, called the alert line at FOX News at 21st century. Their own policy does not require people to use it. It's simply available. There is no law that require anyone to use it. And who was on the other end of the hot line? We have no idea. And the Roger Ailes theory (INAUDIBLE).

MORELLI: You say you know who is on the other ends.


MORELLI: Someone who is going to report back to the company.

BLOOM: Of course.

MORELLI: And make sure they retaliate. That's who the on the other end.

BLOOM: This is a complete red herring. Look, I don't care about FOX News shareholders. I don't care about rich, arrogant guys like Bill O'Reilly. I care about women and women's rights. And when talk about sexual harassment at FOX News, I'm not just talking about few comments up to including sexual misconduct and sexual assault which I have been alleged, we are talking women's careers. We are talking about women over and over again who have accused people of sexual harassment and then been driven out not only at FOX News but often out of the television industry, themselves. And that's been in the "New York Times" and "New York Magazine article" which are in-depth interviews and some of these women. That's why it's so important. And that's why we need the state division of human rights which is entrusted to protect women's rights.

LEMON: Did you know what he said? He said if women come forward, usually they never work again.

BLOOM: In the television industry, that's correct. Look at Andrea Mackris.

LEMON: Yes. I know lots of people who wanted to file discrimination charges, whether African-American women or what have you. But they don't do it because they don't think they can get another job.

DERSHOWITZ: Lisa has a very good idea. The state board does the investigation. They can set up a hot line where FOX is obligated to this kind of a trusteeship. Where they are obligated to have a hot line where the reports come to the state agency. And they can do the investigation. The state agency can protect the women instead of having to call the very, very people who might be able to fire you.

LEMON: OK. So let me ask you this and I know you guys don't have a crystal ball, but everybody thought I think for the most part that Roger Ailes built it. He was invisible, right. And he is gone. Do you think Bill O'Reilly can survive this?

MORELLI: You know, that's probably a question that's very, very hard to answer. Because one thing that we know about the world and especially in America, it's not about protecting people. It's about protecting profits. But there is one way he can survive.

[23:35:09] DERSHOWITZ: If he demands an investigation and he fully participates. We are talking about how he can survive. If he demands an investigation, he produces all the records and materials, he opens up the settlements. If there are tape recordings, he allows them to be played.

MORELLI: If he's innocent.

BLOOM: I give him to weeks, Don.

LEMON: Dylan, I will give you the last word on this. We were discussing Roger Ailes on this program. What do you think?

BYERS: Well, look. I think it's so disheartening for this entire episode if we can just pull back. And it's certainly disheartening for many of the sources at the company that I have spoken with, is we have been through this movie before. And when Roger Ailes was ousted from the company last summer, there was this sincere feeling that 21st century FOX was serious about what it said was a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment or any behavior that made female employees uncomfortable.

The fact that the company re-upped its contract with Bill O'Reilly after paying out $13 million in settlements to at least five women that creates a culture where people don't have a trust in that pledge and they don't really have a great deal of faith in the company. And I think that's what's so hard here in terms of giving this company the benefit of the doubt. We have seen it once before, we are seeing it again, I think at the very least of time for a little more transparency.

LEMON: Well, it is interesting because FOX News here, the conservative leaning network of family values, and then have you this happening, how do the viewers then back that up?

DERSHOWITZ: He likes books on family values.

LEMON: Do they pick ideology over --?

MORELLI: And the reason that he paid out this money, that's what he said a couple of days ago, is because he doesn't want to hurt his children. He would never do anything to hurt his children. He better stop hurting women.

LEMON: We will see how the investigation play out and what comes of it.

Thank you, all. I appreciate it.

We come right back, Congressman Elijah Cummings calls one of the President Trump's advisers, a white supremacist type person.


[23:41:02] LEMON: Top Democrat in the house making a blunt assessment of President Trump's top aid Steve Bannon.

Here to discuss, republican strategist Adam Goodman and CNN political commenters Symone Sanders, Paris Dennard and Van Jones.

Good evening, everyone.

Mr. Jones, this morning, Representative Elijah Cummings had some strong words for Steve Bannon and the Trump administration. He is speaking about Martin Luther King, Jr., on this the 49th anniversary of his assassination, listen to this.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: In a way, he would be pleased to have seen the first African-American elected President to the scene many doors opened for people like me and others who need opportunities that would not have had them back then. But at the same time, when we see a guy like Bannon pull as far as I'm concerned a white supremacist-type person sitting in the White House sitting in the White House and I'm paying his salary. I think he would be very disappointed. I think he would be disappointed with all the hate talk that we are hearing now and the climate that we find ourselves in.


LEMON: Van, what do you think, right on? Too far? What?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, he is speaking for an awful lot of people. There is a really, really deep concern about Bannon's background, yet, this whole thing, we now politely call the alt right, which is a made-up marketing term for white nationalists and white supremacists.

Bannon has had a relationship with those people through his publication and that is just very, very disturbing. I can't imagine if there is some other kind of hate movement that Obama, I want somebody from that hate movement or there is a publisher for the people in the hate movement in the White House. So if anybody would have stood for that.

And so, people that know Bannon say that they think well of him. But this sort of record I think is very disturbing for a lot of people. I think Cummings is speaking for a lot of those people.

LEMON: I want to hear from Paris.

Now, Paris, you know, do you think that MLK Jr., that he would be very disappointed, he said the current administration as Cummings said?

PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't think that he would be. I think what the difference between Congressman Cummings, who I have a lot of respect for and Dr. King, is that I don't believe Dr. King would have gone out and said these insulting words and unsubstantiated claims against people that he was going to work with. The difference between Dr. King and Congressman Cummings, I believe, is that Dr. King was willing to come to the table, sit with these people, work with them. He knew J. Edgar Hoover had history. He knew LBJ had some things that work that was On the Record saying some things that we probably would not like about black people. But he was willing to work with them and willing to put those things aside to get it done. I think Dr. King was at the able to.

LEMON: That's pretty harsh thing Congressman Cummings has harsh things to say about the President and about other people. And also, Elijah Cummings has said he is willing to work with this White House.

DENNARD: That's true.

LEMON: The Democrats that showed up at the inauguration. It's not like he is unwilling to work with President Trump. He is giving his assessment about. And Dr. King is very outspoken. I mean, we were talking about Dr. King here.

DENNARD: Right. And I don't know if Congressman Cummings ever met Steve Bannon. I don't know if he knows him personally. But to go to the level of calling him a white supremist. A white supremist-like, I think is beyond the pale. You can you say you don't like him. You can say you don't like Breitbart, that's fair. But to go across the line and go into somebody's personal character when you don't know that for sure on a public stage like that I think is a line too far.

LEMON: Adam, I know you want to respond here. Let me bring some numbers in here for you. Because according to a new survey and this is done by the University of Chicago, there is a huge partisan divide between Republicans and Democrats and how they view African-American. So they asked whether African-Americans are worse off economically, because most just don't have the motivation or the will power to pull themselves out of poverty, 55 percent of white Republicans agreed with this statement compared to 26 percent of white Democrats. Why do Republicans believe that in such high number?

[23:45:02] ADAM GOODMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I can tell you there is a problem with racism on both sides of the divide that there is too much of it. And I wonder if I can, Don, comment on the Bannon part, because bashing Bannon has become a sport in a town where ostracizing, demonizing, one upping your opponent seems to be the way to go.

But what is not being discussed is in certain terms of African- Americans in America today is after eight years under the former President, where we had stagnating wages, we had poverty on the increase, we had homeownership decreasing, why after eight years of failing to advance in terms of economic empowerment, suddenly a new President with what 70-some days in office is being judged as unable to deliver. I think this is normal Washington one upmanship (ph).

LEMON: He was talking about Bannon. He was not talking about the President. You know, I hear that all the time, about people saying eight years,

do you think he is going to turn over hundreds of years of history in this country in eight years with a President that many people didn't want in office. And they said that their first order of business was to make him a one-term President. Do you think that he was going to be able to turn over all of that institution racism and bigotry in just - in eight years?

GOODMAN: Absolutely not.

LEMON: OK. So what's the point then?

GOODMAN: Well the point is --

LEMON: Because when you death with issues that came to race, we are like, he is not just the President of black people. He's the President of all people. Dammed if he did, dammed if he didn't. But anyway, I don't want to, you know, go back.

GOODMAN: That's the right question if you are asking, Don. But you know, this is a President who of course scored more support among African-American, Spanish and Asian-American than Mitt Romney did in 2012. He has a chance to economic empowerment in my opinion to advance the poll.

LEMON: Symone, I want you to weigh in on that because there was another question on that. I didn't get the full answer from Adam about that but there was another question whether blacks are inherently lazier, revealed 42 percent of white Republicans agree, compared to 24 percent of white Democrats. Is that shocking? Does any of this surprise you?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, Don, because I mean I work with a lot of people right now that do polling, that do focus groups and people are living in silos. Facebook, for example, you, Facebook is designed for you to see things that you only like. And if you don't like what you are seeing, there is a motor or mechanism to make sure you don't see it again. So folks live in silos. And I think that's what we have seen in this latest polling.

I definitely think we have to continue to break down these silos. And that's why, Van's show is so important. I think it is why -- I think it is important that we have candid conversations like this. But make no mistake, any issues that were present in the African-American and Latino community were definitely there prior to President Obama. And under the Obama administration, we had 75 straight month of sector job growth. You know, folks made real gains, like I said you can't undo, you know, not even 100, 200, 246 years of slavery. (INAUDIBLE). You can't undo that in a year. So we have real work to do as a society and community, but you know, we need some actual gains, some actual policies on the table.

LEMON: We have much more to talk about. I have to take a break, Van. I'm sorry. But stick around. We are going to come back. We will talk about that and Kendall Jenner's new Pepsi ad being called tone deaf, why people are not happy with the commercial. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:52:12] LEMON: Kendell Jenner unveiled her new ad for Pepsi and quickly became part of a back lash as did the company. Let's take a look.




LEMON: Symone, go ahead.

SANDERS: Literally, Pepsi just used Kendall Jenner to call out the resistance to sell a freaking can of soda, OK. There were no police picture in riot gear. They often are when black and brown people are putting their bodies on the line to protest police. This is absolutely crazy. And the commercial had a white woman in the middle of a movement when it's black women and brown women and black men who are putting their lives on the line. I cannot. I don't even drink that. I'm a coke drinker.

LEMON: Go ahead, Paris.

DENNARD: Look. I don't care who is that front of the movement, we can't say that it is black lives matter is only for black people. If there are white people who care enough to talk to about these issues, let them be. Let them do this. There's not a problem. And look, Beyonce used lemonade to prove her point, Kendall is using Pepsi. It is the same thing in my opinion.

JONES: Here's the difference, though. Here is difference. I think that authenticity really matters. We are in the age of authenticity and there's really no prior reason to think that she cares about any cause. So you have this weird generic cause. I just don't think it was a good move for her or good move for Pepsi. If she wants to establish a track record of caring and then doing something like that, it probably makes more sense.

LEMON: Can you blame her though?

SANDERS: Yes, I can.

LEMON: Because if somebody offers you that amount of money to do the commercial?

JONES: I would just say not that commercial. Listen, she should do commercials she's authentic about.

DENNARD: Look. If we are to be fair, there were a lot of critiques against Beyonce for coming out with her ad - about with her video because they said she's been silent being engage in the movement before that. And so, it goes both ways that we are going to be honest about Kendall,

SANDERS: Beyonce has funded a lot of people and got a lot of people out of jail.

DENNARD: And you don't know that Kendall hasn't done that. Do you know Kendall done it?

SANDERS: I know people in the movement and the movement don't know Kendall Jenner.

LEMON: Do you know if she has, Paris?

DENNARD: I don't know that she has but I didn't know that Beyonce had either. What I do know that they both want be to engaged and that's fine.

[23:55:01] GOODMAN: Well, I can you this my son. They only have to run this ad a few times to get the message across. Is it the right message? American public will judge.

LEMON: All right.

DENNARD: We are talking about it.

LEMON: The beehive is coming after you, Paris.

SANDERS: Get him.

LEMON: Bye, you all. Have a good night. Thanks for watching.

We will be right back.


[23:58:58] LEMON: In the city of Chicago violence knows no age limit. Until recently, Chicago was on par with the highest homicide rate in nearly two decades leaving some young people on the south side afraid to go outside.

But this week's CNN Hero is on the front line, determined to give kids back their childhood. Meet Jennifer Maddox.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are in a state of emergency here in the city of Chicago. The shooting, the killing. Five, six, seven year olds, they are losing people that they love and care about. I'm a law enforcement officer but I'm also a mother and a member of this community. We can't arrest our way out of this. Once I saw that there was another side to policing, I thought that I could do more.


LEMON: You see how officer Maddox gets people caught in the cross fire and escape, go to And while you are there, nominate someone you think should be a 2017 CNN Hero.

And by the way, don't miss the premiere of CNN's "Unseen Enemy." The story of how a deadly disease could turn into the next global pandemic. That's Friday night, 9:00 eastern and pacific.

That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. Be right back here tomorrow.